NSF/BIO web survey for soliciting feedback on DEB and IOS program changes

In 2011 the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) and Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) in the Biological Sciences Directorate (BIO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) made significant changes to the core program review process for the 2012 funding year. These changes (including the new preliminary proposal requirement, a switch to an annual deadline, and a cap on the number of proposals Principal Investigators (PIs) can submit per cycle) were made to protect the integrity of the merit review system, which was increasingly compromised by steep increases in proposal submissions, diminished participation of the community in the proposal review process, and flat budgets. Sinking success rates and the constant churn of excellent proposals were symptoms of a complex, system-wide problem that motivated a 5-year investigation into ways to help alleviate the problems associated with flat budgets.
We have received considerable feedback from the community on those changes -- including discussions between Program Officers and panel members at NSF, discussions at professional meetings with many PIs and community members, and via letters, phone calls and emails. We are also compiling multiple forms of data on the outcomes after the first year of implementation of these changes.

This survey is another mechanism that we are using to obtain feedback about the new review process. Our target audience is investigators who have had funding from DEB or IOS or who are likely to submit a proposal to DEB and/or IOS in the next 1-2 years. We will use the results of the survey, which will be anonymous, to assess the level of satisfaction with various aspects of the new review process. Your answers will be confidential, and will have no bearing on your future interactions with the NSF. The survey should require 10-20 minutes to complete. Thank you for taking the survey and providing NSF with feedback.

Pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(b), an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to an information collection unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0215. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 15 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, Facilities and Operations Branch, Division of Administrative Services, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230.
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